Dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his widowed mother, slacker Jeff might discover his destiny (finally) when he spends the day with his unhappily married brother as he tracks his possibly adulterous wife.
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
David O. Russell
Robert De Niro
In order to gain influence over their North Carolina district, two CEOs seize an opportunity to oust long-term congressman Cam Brady by putting up a rival candidate. Their man: naive Marty Huggins, director of the local Tourism Center.
Henry is a precocious young boy, conceived in a petri-dish, raised by his single mother, Patricia, and is smarter than all of his peers. However, the one question he can't answer is, who is his father? Henry's attempts at locating his father lead him to Dr. Slavkin O'Hara, a university professor who has decided to raise his daughter, Audrey, as a psychology experiment in a world free of gender bias. Patricia starts fearing that she's losing her son, Audrey wishes she didn't have a father, Dr. O'Hara has no idea how to keep his daughter happy, and Henry may just have found the family he was looking for. Written by
The second film of Singapore Night, Jesus Christ Henry got into the lineup because of Singaporean Sukee Chew's involvement being one of three producers of the film, an indie production that made its World Premiere in the Tribeca Film Festival a few weeks ago, which drew quite a mixed response with comments that it had tried to hard. Written and directed by Korean American Dennis Lee based upon his short film back in 2003, I thought this movie garnered reactions that it didn't quite deserve for trying too hard, being crafted in the same hyperactive mold such as quirky comedies that have been seen around the region such as Citizen Dog and true blue Singaporean film 18 Grams of Love even.
There are a number of focus shifts in the film that tangent off its intended protagonist Henry James Herman (Jason Spevack), a petri-dish baby conceived through in-vitro fertilization technique opted by his feminist mom Patricia Herman (Toni Collette), turning out to be the unintentional genius with a videographic memory, retaining every single little detail that he's experienced since conception. Jason Spevack would probably be yet another child actor to look out for since Freddie Highmore grew up, and this film will serve as his showreel if not for being upstaged by the other cast members given the narrative shifts that put the spotlight on them.
Specifically I thought the film devoted a lot more time (not that I'm complaining) to the Patricia character, beginning with a rather lengthy introduction to the Herman family and the demise of each and every individual character beginning with Patricia's mother right down to her brothers, each in a rather comical manner that you'll likely be surprised at its rather nonchalant manner in which to bump them off, with black comedy by the bucket loads of course. And this set the course of the film to be rather gag filled in almost every scene put on screen, that for some it may be tiring and trying since it could have felt like a water torture treatment being force fed with in-your-face comedic moments. I appreciated what it had tried to do, but opinions on humour especially, and how to deliver it, will obviously be polarized.
Yes like a typical comedic indie film, this one is filled with its fair share of quirky characters. Outside of the mother-son Hermans, and Patricia's father Stan (Frank Moore) who forms a very strong bond with his grandson Henry, the story also goes out to another dysfunctional father-daughter pair when Henry embarks on a mission to discover his biological father. This brings Michael Sheen into the fray as Dr Slavkin O'Hara, a professor whose book "Born Gay or Made That Way?" becomes a living hell for his daughter Audrey (Samantha Weinstein) when she is the subject of his book, and becomes the constant taunt of her schoolmates.
Story-wise, the coming together of these two families in a sort of identity-crisis form the bulk of the situational comedy they find themselves in, but the pairing of both Weinstein and Spaveck together moved the story forward with both putting in strong performances and holding their own against two very powerful thespians in Sheen and Collette, although Weinstein probably upstaged Spaveck a little with her portrayal as the extremely cynical and sarcastic little girl quite unfazed by her tormentors. Again there are plenty of laugh out loud wicked moments that you will probably wonder if you're laughing at the film, or with it especially in its darker moments that could be quite unsettling.
Production values are quite spiffy given the big name executive producer behind this film, though Dennis Lee and Sukee Chew were quite tight lipped on how much this film actually cost since it looked like a multi-million dollar movie. If you're still game for quirkiness in all characters of your indie films, then Jesus Henry Christ will still be your cup of tea if you see beyond, or tolerate some eyebrow raising moments with its less than friendly jibes against lesbians/feminists as well as a white man who thinks he's black, otherwise those jaded will find fault with almost every frame of the film in trying too hard with wild absurdity in characters. Split down the middle, depending on your mood and attitude.
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